'Fifty-nine Palestinian protesters, including seven children under 18, have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations on the day of the US embassy's inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.
More than 2,700 protesters have been injured in Gaza on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 203 children and 78 women, according to the ministry.
The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths. A day of national mourning has been declared by the government in Ramallah, to be held Tuesday.
Around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces.
Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem.
The first of Monday's deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. Six children under the age of 18, including one girl, are among the fatalities.
Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.”
We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza. 38 confirmed dead, including 6 children, with close to 2000 people injured. Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) May 14, 2018
Around half of all injuries were caused by live bullets while hundreds more were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists and are calling on citizens to urgently donate blood to help save the lives of those wounded.
Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.
— Great Return March (@GreatReturnMa) May 14, 2018
Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday's protests.
Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Return demonstrations.'
Read more:‘‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 59, injures 2,771 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem